This June marks the 50th anniversary of the re-unification of Jerusalem following Israel’s victory in the Six Day War.
Many Americans mistakenly believe that only then, in 1967, did Jerusalem become Israel’s capital with a clear Jewish majority. But Jerusalem has always been the seat of Israel’s parliament; two-thirds of the city’s population was already Jewish at the time of Israeli independence in 1948.
In fact, Jews constituted Jerusalem’s largest religious group as early as the mid nineteenth century and the city served as the Judean capital for a thousand years from the King David to the Roman dispersion. Meanwhile, Jerusalem has never been a Palestinian Arab capital: between 1948 and 1967, Arab forces occupied a small portion of the city and desecrated its holy sites, but the nation of Jordan, not any Palestinian entity, controlled that territory. This year’s 50th anniversary is a good occasion to come to terms with the true history of the holy city.